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SUBJECT: Jack The Ripp er 

July 6, 1988 



The following criminal investigative analysis was 
prepared by Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) John E. Douglas, FBI 
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) , 
Program Manager of Criminal Investigative Analysis. At the 
request of Cosgrove-Meurer Productions, SSA Douglas was requested 
to prepare an analysis of a 100-year-old, unsolved serial murder 
case that occurred in England. This historical case was known as 
"Jack the Ripper. " 

SSA Douglas was provided basic backgroiind information 
relative to each case; however, it is noted that forensic 
technology and other investigative techniques, as we know of 
today, were nonexistent a century ago. Medical examiners' 
reports were incomplete, crime scene photography was used 
sparingly, and police investigative reports do not reflect the 
type of thoroughness evidenced today. 

When a case is submitted for investigative analysis, 
the reliability and validity of the overall analysis is hinged on 
the thoroughness displayed by the medical examiners, technicians, 
investigators, etc. Although materials provided were not as 
complete as cases sxibmitted today by much more sophisticated law 
enforcement agencies, SSA Douglas filled in the missing pieces of 
information by making certain probsQsle assvimptions . 

This analysis will address the following areas: 
Victimology or profile of victims; medical examiner's findings; 
crime and crime scene analysis; offender traits and 
characteristics; pre- and post-offense behavioral patterns; 
investigative and/or proactive techniques; and interview/ 
interrogation suggestions. 

Rather than address each homicide separately, 
SSA Douglas' comments will relate to the entire series of 
homicides as a whole. 


In each homicide, the victim V7as a prostitute with a 
reputation of drinking quite heavily. These two ingredients 
place the victim in a "high risk" category. By "high risk, " we 
define this as someone who is very likely to be the victim of 
violent crime. From an investigative perspective, this makes it 
extremely difficult in reference to developing logical suspects. 
From a forensic viewpoint, if any evidence is obtained such as 
hairs and fibers, semen, etc. , law enforcement would not know for 
certain if this evidence did in fact come from the subject. 

One hundred years ago, prostitution was not as 
organized as it is today, where we have pimps controlling, 
monitoring, and protecting their stables. During the "Jack the 
Ripper" era, women worked independently. A female prostitute who 
drank heavily was looking for trouble. We would suspect that 
there were numerous instances of these women being physically 
assaulted, raped, and ripped off. 

Prostitutes 100 years ago did not dress differently 
than other women at that time. In most cases, they performed 
their "services" in dark alleys or in "flop" houses. The 
prostitutes targeted by Jack the Ripper were nearly twice the age 
of prostitutes soliciting today. They were not particularly 
attractive and other than their age, there were no striking 
similarities between them. (It is noted that the last victim was 

The "Jack the Ripper" victims were targeted because 
they were readily accessible. Jack the Ripper did not have to 
initiate the contact. This was done for him by the prostitute. 
This is an important feature in a case such as this and will be 
addressed later on in this analysis under "Offender Traits and 
Characteristics . " 


As stated earlier, the medical examinations conducted 
at that time were not very thorough when compared to autopsy 
examinations conducted today by experienced forensic 
pathologists. However, even in some parts of the United States 
today, autopsy examinations are something less than desired. 

The primary areas noted in this analysis were as 


1. No evidence of sexual assault. 

2. Subject killed victims swiftly. 

3. Subject was able to maintain control of 
victims during the initial "blitz style" 
of attack. 

4. Sub:ject removed body organs (i.e., kidney, 
vagina, nose) on some of the victims, indicating 
some anatomical knowledge. 

5. No evidence of physical torture prior to death. 

6. Postmortem mutilation. 

7. Possible meuiual strangulation. 

8. Blood from victims was concentrated in small 

9. Rings were taken from one of the victims. 

10. The last victim was killed indoors and was the 
most mutilated. Subject spent a considerable 
amount of time at the scene. 

11. Time of death was in the early morning hours. 

The above-listed autopsy findings will contribute to 
the overall offender analysis that will be addressed later on in 
this report. 


With the exception of the last case, all victims were 
killed outdoors. All victims were killed swiftly, with the 
victims consequently receiving postmortem mutilation. All 
homicides occurred within one-fourth of a mile from each other 
and occurred either on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday during early 
morning hours. After the first homicide at Whitechapel Station, 
the subject moved slightly across town (one-fourth of a mile) . 
If a line is drawn from crime scenes 2, 3, 4, and 5, a triangular 
configuration is formed. This is observed in other types of 
serial crimes. This triangular configuration is viewed as a 
secondary comfort zone for the Ripper, This movement is caused 
when a subject believes that the investigation is heating up in 
his primary comfort zone. The primary comfort zone would be the 
location of the first homicide in the vicinity of Whitechapel 
Station. It is the opinion of this crime analyst that there were 
other attacks in the Whitechapel area that either went unreported 
or for some reason were not considered by authorities to be 
crimes of Jack the Ripper. 

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Some criminologists and behavioral scientists have 
written in the past that sxibjects will maintain their modus 
operandi and that is what links so-called "signature crimes." 
This conclusion is incorrect. A subject will change his modus 
operandi as he gains additional experience. This is learned 
behavior. However, the personal desires and needs of the subject 
are expressed in the ritual aspect of a crime. The ritual is 
something that he must always do because it is the acting out of 
the fantasy. With Jack the Ripper, the target selection, the 
approach, the method of his initial attack, are his modus 
operandi. What takes place after this is the ritual. The ritual 
may become more elaborate as - was in the last homicide case. 
Here, the Ripper had time to act out his fantasies. As 
investigators, we should not necessarily expect the same type of 
homicides in the future, particularly if subsequent victims are 
killed outdoors. Once again, he would not have the time to carry 
out all of his fantasies and consequently mutilation will not be 
as advanced. 


Another aspect of this case worth mentioning was the 
conmiuniques allegedly received from Jack the Ripper. It is quite 
rare when a serial murderer of this type communicates with 
police, media, family, etc. When they do communicate, they 
generally provide specifics relative to the crime that only are 
known by the subject. In addition, they generally provide 
information relative to their motivation for committing such a 
heinous crime. It is my opinion that this series of homicides 
was not perpetrated by someone who set up a challenge against law 
enforcement. While the killer knew he would be receiving 
national as well as international publicity, this was not his 
primary motivation. 

In summary, I would not put emphasis on the commxaniques 
during this investigation. However, I would develop an 
investigative technique with the goal in mind to identify the 
author of the communiques. 


These homicides are referred to as Lust Murders. Roy 
Hazelwood and I wrote an article several years ago which appeared 
in the FBI^s Law Enforcement Bulletin . The word "lust" does nor 
mean love or have any sexual meaning, other than the fact that 
the subject attacks the genital areas of his victims. The 
vaginal area and breasts are the focal point of attack in a woman 
and the penis and scrotum are the attack area of the male 
offender. Generally, males who are attacked in this fashion are 
victims that were involved in a homosexual relationship. 



I have never experienced a female serial lust murderer 
either in research or in cases received at the NCAVC. It is for 
this reason that Jack the Ripper was a male. He was of white 
race in view of the fact that white was the predominant race at 
the crime scene locations, and generally crimes such as these are 

The age of onset for these types of homicides is 
generally between the mid to late 20 's. Based upon the high 
degree of psychopathology exhibited at the scene, the ability of 
the subject to converse with the victim until a suitable location 
is found, and the ability to • avoid detection, places him between 
the age bracket of 28 to 36 years of age. However, it should be 
noted that age is a difficult characteristic to categorize and 
consequently we would not eliminate a viable suspect exclusively 
because of age. 

This offender does not look out of the ordinary. 
However, the clothing he wears at the time of the assaults is not 
his everyday dress. He wants to project to \insuspecting females 
(prostitutes) that he has money; consequently this relieves him 
from initiating contact. 

He comes from a family where he was raised by a 
domineering mother and weak, passive and/or absent father. In 

all likelihood, his mother drank heavily and enjoyed the company 
of many men. As a result, he failed to receive consistent care 
and contact with stable adult role models. Consequently, he 
became detached socially and developed a diminished emotional 
response towards his fellow man. He became asocial, preferring 
to be alone. His anger became internalized and in his younger 
years, he expressed his pent-up destructive emotions by setting 
fires and torturing small animals. By perpetrating these acts, 
he discovered increased areas of dominance, power and control, 
and learned how to continue violent destructive acts without 
detection or punishment. 

As he grew older, his fantasy developed a strong 
component that included domination, cruelty, and mutilation of 
women. We would expect to find evidence of this violent 
destructive fantasy life through personal writings of his as well 
as drawings of women being mutilated. 

For employment, he would seek a position where he could 
work alone and vicariously experience his destructive fantasies. 
Such employment would include work as a butcher, mortician's 
helper, medical examiner's assistant, or hospital attendant. He 
is employed Monday through Friday and on Friday night, Saturday, 
and Sunday is off from work. He has carried a knife for defense 
purposes — just in case he was ever attacked, he would be ready. 

This paranoid-type of thinking is in part justified because of 
the poor self-image he has of himself. He would be expected to 
have some type of physical abnormality. However, although not 
severe, he perceives this as being psychologically crippling. We 
would look for someone below or above average in height and/or 
weight. May have problems with speech, scarred complexion, 
physical illness, or injury. 

We would not expect this type of offender to be 
married. If he was married in the past, it would have been to 
someone older than himself and the marriage would have been for a 
short duration. 

He is not adept in meeting people socially and the 
major extent of his heterosexual relationships would be with 
prostitutes. Due to lack of hygiene practices by prostitutes at 
that time and the absence of treatment for venereal disease, he 
may have been infected. If infected, this would further fuel his 
hatred and disgust for women. 

He would be perceived as being quiet, a loner, shy, 
slightly withdrawn, obedient, and neat and orderly in appearance 
and when working. He drinks in the local pubs and after a few 
spirits, he becomes more relaxed and finds it easier to engage in 
conversation. He lives or works in the Whitechapel area. The 
first homicide should be in close proximity to either his home or 
workplace. It is noted that London Hospital is only one block 
from the first homicide and as stated earlier in this analysis, 
we would esqject other violent crimes in this vicinity. 

Investigators would have interviewed him during the 
course of the investigation and he was probably talked to by 
police on several occasions. Unfortunately at this time, there 
was no way to correlate this type of information? therefore, he 
was overlooked. Investigators and citizens in the coitmunity had 
a preconceived idea or picture of what Jack the Ripper would look 
like. Because of the belief that he would appear odd or ghoulish 
in appearance, he was overlooked and/ or eliminated as a potential 


Prior to each homicide, the subject was in a local pub 
drinking spirits, while at the same time lowering his 
inhibitions. He would be observed walking all over the 
Whitechapel area during the early evening hours. He did not 
specifically seek a certain look in a woman; however, it was by 
no accident that he killed prostitutes. He had the sense to know 
when and where to attack his victims. There would have been many 

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other women who confronted Jack the Ripper and were not assaulted 
because the location was not secure enough. 

Post-offense behavior would include returning to an 
area where he could wash his hands of blood and remove his 
clothing. We would not expect him to inject himself into the 
police investigation or provide bogus information. 

Jack the Ripper hunted nightly for his victims. VJhen 
he could not find another, he returned to the locations where he 
killed his previous victims. If the victims were buried locally, 
he would visit the gravesites of his victims during the early 
morning hours for the purpose of reliving his lust murders. 

Jack the Ripper would not have committed suicide after 
the last homicide. Generally, when crimes such as these cease, 
it is because he came close to being identified, was interviewed 
by police, or was arrested for some other type of offense. As 
stated previously in this report, we would be surprised if Jack 
the Ripper would suddenly stop. However, we've seen this happen 
before and generally it has been because of the above-stated 


Jack the Ripper would be best suited to be interviewed 
during the early morning hours. He would feel more relaxed and 
secure to confess to the homicides. He would feel more relaxed 
to express himself by writing about his motivation for killing 
the women. He would not be visibly shaken or upset if directly 
accused of the homicides. However, he would be psychologically 
and physiologically stressed if confronted with the fact that he 
became personally soiled by the victims' blood. Jack the Ripper 
believed the homicides were justified and he was only removing 
perishable items — who were like garbage. 

This analysis was prepared for the exclusive use of 
Cosgrove-Meurer Productions, Inc. Any reproduction or use of 
this analysis for pviblication must have the written consent of 
SSA John E. Douglas.